The Special Criminal Court has refused to hear separate trials in the cases of two men accused of conspiracy to commit burglaries and of the robbery of a credit union in which Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead.
Lawyers for Brendan Treanor and James Flynn had asked the three-judge, non-jury court to separate the burglary and robbery charges to avoid hearing evidence that they said prejudices their clients.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, on Tuesday said the court is exercising its discretion to run the trials together. He said the decision is subject to the rule that the court must consider each charge separately. Mr Justice Hunt said he will give more detail on the court's ruling next Tuesday.
Brendan Treanor (34), previously of Emer Terrace, Castletown Road, Dundalk, Co Louth, and James Flynn (32) from South Armagh are charged that between September 11th, 2012 and January 23rd, 2013, they conspired with Aaron Brady and others to enter a house with the intention of stealing car keys.
Both men are also charged with the robbery of €7,000 at Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth on January 25th, 2013. They have pleaded not guilty to each charge.
Aaron Brady (31), previously of New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, is serving a life sentence with a 40-year minimum having been found guilty of murdering Det Gda Adrian Donohoe and of the burglary at Lordship. He denied any involvement in the robbery and is awaiting an appeal against his conviction.
Opening the trial, Lorcan Staines SC told the court last week that the prosecution alleges that Mr Treanor and Mr Flynn were part of a group of young men who conspired to break into houses to steal car keys and then quietly make off with the cars.
Lydia Doyle on Tuesday told prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan SC that in 2013 she lived in Virginia, Co Cavan. When she awoke on January 15th that year she found that her handbag was missing from where she had left it beside a console table in her hallway. When she looked outside, her car was gone and the lock on her front door had been pushed out.
Stephen Smith told Mr Grehan that he lived in Monaghan town in 2013 and on January 7th that year he woke up to find that his kitchen cupboards were open and his iPad was missing. The lock on the front door had been "snapped out", he said. The keys to his Toyota Landcruiser were in his trouser pocket in his bedroom.
Jacqueline McGee told Mr Grehan that she was also living in Monaghan town, in the same estate as Mr Smith. On the same morning she awoke to find that her iPad and handbag were missing and her kitchen cupboards were open. A neighbour later brought the purse to her but £300 was missing.
Both Ms McGee and her husband had cars parked outside but both were still there, she said.
In evidence on Tuesday, Det Gda Laura Bolger told prosecution counsel Jane Murphy BL that she drew up a large number of maps of various places of interest around the country for the team investigating the Lordship robbery.
She took the court through those maps, plotting the distances between various locations and points on the map where the prosecution alleges cars were stolen on various dates. She plotted the distance to those sites from Dunroamin House, where the prosecution says that the accused man James Flynn was living when some of the burglaries occurred and when the robbery at Lordship happened.
The trial is continuing before Mr Justice Tony Hunt with Her Honour Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Alan Mitchell.